Ah, jealousy. That little insidious little soul killer.
Every time I think I'm doing well, it trips me up again. I catch a glimpse of that lovely mom with the beautiful outfit at the school and realize that I don't have a scarf like that. I drive past that lovely house that's not ours and think, I wonder if they realize how lucky they are. I listen to the cantor's angelic voice at mass and think, must be nice to not sound like a croaking frog. I read a compelling post or see a fabulous picture on Instagram and think, I wish I had that kind of writing [photography/baking/crafting/ painting/basketweaving] talent.
Of course, I would never do what crazy Cain did out of jealousy. How horrendous.
But...if I'm honest, I shoot those mind daggers like a champ—sometimes without even realizing it—and let the thoughts fester in my soul. Because that's so much better, right?
In reality, while Cain killed with his hand, I effectively kill with my thoughts. My soul withers just as his did when I let the jealousy take hold.
Deep down, though, I believe I can also stand in the same place as Cain and feel the exact insatiable ache he must have felt. Underneath all the anger and spilled blood and mind daggers, there is a trembling heart—tarnished by rejection, crying out, "What about me, God? What about these talents you gave me that appear so much less than hers? What about all the things I do that still don't seem to measure up? Aren’t they good enough for You? Will my offering ever be good enough?"
But the truth is, it’s not about the offering itself—it’s about the state of the offerer. If I’m too busy being jealous and labeling my offering as “not good enough,” if I forget that He doesn’t delight in the type of car or house or talents I wish I had, but simply wants to delight in the me He specifically created me to be—how then, can I ever accept His full acceptance—not just of my offering, but of the masterpiece He made me to be?
The answer is, I can’t.
That underlying ache for love, for acceptance, for affirmation—instead of the empty search for those things in the eyes of others, I will find fulfillment only, and always, in my sincere effort to seek God's approval above all else.
Our God is love. He wants to free us from the trap of jealousy so we can feel that all-consuming love. Let’s try to rid our hearts of the world’s lies today and ask God to help us offer the gifts He’s given us back to Him—no strings attached!
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and sometimes soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.